September's End

Up and Down the Stairs

Celebrations!  Many teams and teachers are wrapping up their first units in reading and writing by having celebrations of some sort.  Celebrations around the building in the past few weeks have included students reading to partners, writing a short end of unit reflection, sharing some popcorn, and having a toast of juice.  Some teachers have invited parents in to take part in a reading workshop so they can celebrate student work and inform parents of the components of their reading program at the same time.  Some classes are going to read with book buddies or with anther class on the grade level.  Whatever the celebration- large or small, reading or writing, marking the beginnings and endings of units is an important way of helping students organize the flow of work in reading and writing workshop.  It also helps keep the energy fresh and new.  Interested in thinking of ways to celebrate the end of your reading or writing unit?  Ask around- your colleagues have some fantastic ideas!  Or, let me know if you want to talk about it.

Food For Thought

I love to talk.  No surprise there.  But last week, there were so many interesting and thoughtful conversations- I was having so many new ideas that I went home mentally weary, in a good way, each night.  On Thursday afternoon over 30 people came together to listen to Marc Levitt talk about his experience and beliefs about why using Accountable Talk is important in our classrooms.  The conversation was lively and juicy- just the kind we want to have our students participating in during our classes.  That evening, about 40 or so parents and teachers came to his session on thinking about third culture issues with our parents.  It was, again, another great conversation.  So often we are looking for next steps or strategies when we leave sessions and talks with people.    My big take away from these events was not a handout or a plan of things to do.  My big takeaway was a shared sense of community and some new thoughts to ruminate on.  Just having the conversation was enough.

Love. The. Web.

What caught my eye this week…

  • The Honda phenomenon is shorthand in our house for that thing that happens when you get something and even though you never saw it out in the world before, now that you own it you see it everywhere (in our case, when we bought a Honda Odessey).  Now I feel that way with all things related to Accountable Talk.  I seem to be running in to in everywhere on the web.  It may have slightly different names ( Cafe Conversations, Socratic Seminars, etc…) but the spirit is the same.  Check out this post about using AT and especially her catchy handout!
  • Remember how much we learned with Georgia Heard last year?  She has a new book out and you can browse the entire book online here (scroll down).
  • Do you love the work of John Scieszka, author of The Stinky Cheese Man, and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, the Time Warp Trio series, and Squids Will Be Squids, among other books?  He has the best website for matching boys to books called Guys Read.  Some categories for books for boys listed here include: Outerspace Without Aliens, People Being Transformed into Animals, and Books with At Least One Explosion.
  • Interested in working on your classroom library?  We have purchased log ins at the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Books website.  Check it out!  Besides a huge leveled book database, this site includes features such as:  Read Alouds Not to Miss, Analysis of the Demands of Text, Videos of Literacy Classrooms, and more.  E-mail me if you want our password.

I welcome your comments, feel free to leave them below.  Have a great week!


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